Hearing Aid Advertising

In my area, it seems all of the ads I see in the paper, and direct mail pieces being sent out by competitors is all the same, misleading, sensational nonsense. I’m just curious what all of you think about this advertising, and if you are on the dispensing side of the business, what works best for you? Lunch and Learn Events, Direct Mail, Television, Newspaper? How do people feel about receiving or seeing these ads that ask for “30 (or 42) participants WANTED” or what is the public perception of those who advertise a FREE hearing test. Personally, when someone tells me something is free, I don’t have a high expectation of quality… Just some Friday afternoon thoughts fine-tuning my summer marketing plan. Have a good weekend.

I always view these ads as junk mail.

I would be quick to jump on it considering my level of hearing loss. I just don’t happen to see these adds. Maybe because I don’t read the newspaper - google news is good enough for me.

Also I would’t expect to much but it would be a starting point for me. If I could get a free audiogram just to see where I stand then I would do it. I’m not the type to be taken easily so I would’nt expect anything else out of it.

As I am looking to upgrade hearing aids within 6 months, I attended one of these ‘shows’ which was sponsored by one of the high end companies and one of the audiologists in the area. Yes, the ad said something like only 42 wanted, with the implication that if you didn’t call today you wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate - and, I assumed a special discount possible. I called and attended, and didn’t need the hearing test as I brought along a recent audiogram. I met with the company rep and listened to his technical pitch (which to be fair, was quite in depth). He showed me a chart of the show ‘special’ prices, which seemed higher than I was quoted from another audiologist. When I declined, I left and never even met the audiologist, which is too bad because I am looking for a new audi as mine relocated cities. On the positive side, the rep was not a high pressure salesman, which could have turned me off against that brand. Result - I’ll just ignore ads like this in the future. For the consumer, I think some type of mini-seminar, a ‘lunch and learn’ type presentation would be good with a presentation/discussion of the various types of hearing aids and options available.

The marketing people are VERY good at telling lies.

I was involved in conducting marketing programs for hearing professionals for several years. The current “circus” approach to marketing is not doing the industry any good in establishing trust with the hearing impaired. This is what caused me to give up my marketing career, and return to dispensing. The current marketing so commonly seen is at best, misleading. At its worst, its deceptive. Here is the truth on current marketing trends.

50 - 70% off MSRP: There is no such thing as MSRP, so any % off is a fabricated number. Most companys don’t publish MSRP lists for legal reasons. A few still do. Truth is, for the most part, nothing is ever really on sale. To some extent with large discount advertising campaigns you may in fact pay more due to increased marketing costs.

Wanted 25 people for some sort of trial: Again, just not true. Its all marketing hype. Offers for participating in the “trial” are some sort of discount if you purchase. See above, there are no discounts. Ask them who is doing the trial, who will publish the results…etc etc. The trial thing falls apart very quickly.

Lunch n Learn events are actually rather informative. If you remember that they are being sponsored by a company. So in the end what you are going to get is a live commercial for thier hearing instruments.

Any and all offers that insist you purchase now to recieve some sort of discount that you will not be able to get in the future. Its just based on the fear that if you don’t act now, its going to cost you more later. Just not true.

The reason all these approaches are still being used…they work. its a dollar driven business, as all business’s are. If people stop responding to these advertising approaches, you will see them go away pretty quickly.

The basic rule to go buy, if you see advertising such as mentioned here, chances are whoever ran it is more interested in your money than your hearing. I am sure there are caring professionals that continue to run these programs to generate traffic. So I will refrain from saying “everybody” that advertises this way is more interested in your money. However, its probably a good rule of thumb.

Its advertising, it should all be suspect. Its the nature of the beast no matter what you are buying.

Whenever I see the word “FREE”, I know there will be either a high pressure sales pitch right behind it, or some sort of contract that is next to impossible to ever get out of. :eek:That is why I never respond to any of those offers.

Thanks all for your input.

The majority of the information is useless and ends up in the bin

I hope all realise that marketing practices as mentioned above are the result of the classification of aids as Medical Devices which eliminates mass advertising, and mass selling by ethical mass retailers such as WalMart, Amazon, Target, etc.

If those guys were allowed to over the counter sell self adjustable aids, they would eliminate those jackals preying on elderly HOH. Ed

yes and it would also allow them to monopolize the industry. everyone that i have dealt with from smaller offices have been more personal and more friendly. u dont get that at a department store. and must i remind you ed of how the quality of the products offered by such large retailers usually cant compare to a similar product made by a smaller business. mass producing isnt always the answer, if it was communism would be the answer and im sure that most americans agree communism is seldom ever the answer.

Max C: I am a bit puzzled by your post. I don’t know what a defunct political system has to do with pricing and quality of hearing aids at this time.

And the mass retailers are very careful to not to sell junk because they all offer an iron clad guarantee and 100% money back if not satisfied. I think the sucess of these giant retailers is in part due to their ethical standards. Companies like Amazon are very careful to achieve customer satisfaction.

I will agree that the smaller hearing aid retailers (pro fitters), in my experience, are more personal. Ed

what i was getting at was the fact that big business kills small business. and saying that everyone should buy from a big business such as amazon would monopolize the industry. i was going over the top with the political reference but i was using it to try to prove a point. honestly i can see where you are coming from, but i like seeing the person that is selling the product to me, and knowing that if i have any problems i can contact that person instead of having to deal with a call center which is so impersonal and degrading its unreal.

I had to laugh at this one.

First off ETHICAL?!! WALMART? Seriously, go and watch any documentary about Walmart business practices and educate yourself. This is one of the most evil corporations out there, exploiting people, communities, abusing tax loopholes, gender bias, anti-union, third world exploiting, need I go on.

Just because you believe that all of the industries problems as you perceive them would be solved with complete deregulation and mass produced amplifiers, does not make it so.

And since when has advertising hearing aids made a company a bunch of ‘jackals preying on elderly HOH.’ That is such an outrageous statement. You could use such a cynical view point to justify banning all advertisements aimed at the elderly, on the basis that you believe they are no longer capable of making rational decisions.

I think your arguments are getting a bit silly.

zct i am inclined to agree with you, i used to be an employee of wal mart. i had 4 settlement checks sent to me in a 3 year period over the mistreatment of the very people that run the stores.

Here’s an interesting documentary on that and similar Walmart topics:

Not necessarily, the people i get my hearing aids from were friendly and informational. The reason i contacted them was because of their mailer.

Except that the hearing aid manufacturers ARE big business and have already monopolized the industry; they just use middlemen to distribute what they sell. And justifiably so…we need the expertise of the middleman, at least most of us do. To have Phonak (or the others) sell to Wal-Mart would be a total nightmare in my opinion, and not worth the few bucks it might save.